Charles Michael Golden Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on January 24, 2011, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, CHARLES MICHAEL GOLDEN, a 63-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to maintaining a premises for the purpose of storing methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for April 27, 2011. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica T. Fehr and Lori H. Suek, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
During the fall of 2009, law enforcement was conducting an investigation of George Morris for the distribution of methamphetamine in the Billings area and on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations. Using surveillance and other investigative techniques, law enforcement became aware of GOLDEN.
On two occasions in November and December 2009, while conducting surveillance of GOLDEN's house, law enforcement watched couriers from Washington deliver methamphetamine to Morris. The methamphetamine was delivered to GOLDEN's residence twice - on Thanksgiving 2009 and December 20, 2009.
On the first occasion, the meth, which was secreted in the vehicle driven from Washington by the couriers, was unloaded in GOLDEN's garage. On the second occasion, December 20, 2009, before the meth could be unloaded, law enforcement became involved and seized approximately two pounds of a mixture or substance containing meth, or approximately 395 grams of actual meth from the same green Ford Expedition driven by the Washington couriers in November, and seized approximately $27,000 in cash from Morris's car at the same time. Both vehicle's were parked outside of GOLDEN's house. The couriers were arrested and both of them and Morris were identified by law enforcement.
GOLDEN was interviewed on January 19, 2010. GOLDEN admitted that he had known Morris for about five years, that he was a meth user, and that Morris started supplying him with meth shortly after he met Morris.
GOLDEN admitted that on Thanksgiving Day 2009, Morris brought an unknown male and female driving a green Ford Expedition to his garage. GOLDEN admitted that he suspected Morris removed drugs from the Expedition because of his telephone conversations with Morris. He "put two and two together."
On December 20, 2009, GOLDEN told law enforcement that Morris called him to tell him that he was coming over to GOLDEN's house. Morris and the same unknown male and female driving the Ford Expedition were at his house when the police arrived. He admitted that "he knew what was going on." Several days later, Morris told him that law enforcement found two pounds of meth.
The Washington couriers were interviewed, as well as other associates of Morris. The Washington couriers, who made numerous trips to Montana to deliver meth to Morris, identified GOLDEN from a photograph (they did not know his name) as the owner of the house that they delivered the meth to on Thanksgiving 2009 and December 20, 2009. They provided accurate descriptions of GOLDEN's house and garage. They both told law enforcement, in separate interviews, that on Thanksgiving they drove a green Ford Expedition containing meth into GOLDEN's garage. Both Morris and GOLDEN went into the garage and shut the door and were in the garage while the meth was unloaded from their vehicle. Morris confirmed that GOLDEN assisted him in unloading the meth and told law enforcement that he used GOLDEN's house rather than his own house because he suspected law enforcement was watching him.
Morris pled guilty and has been sentenced on federal charges.
GOLDEN faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the City-County Special Investigation Unit in Billings, the Billings Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.